Interesting Facts About Panama Canal
July 10, 2023
The Panama Canal is one of the most iconic engineering feats in history and an essential part of global trade. As a shipping, logistics, and freight forwarding company, it’s important to understand the impact that the Panama Canal has had on the industry. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some interesting facts about the Panama Canal and its significance in the shipping industry.
1. The Idea of a Panama Canal Dates Back Centuries
The idea of building a canal through Panama dates back to the 16th century. Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa was the first European to discover the existence of the Pacific Ocean from the isthmus of Panama in 1513. Since then, many have tried to find a way to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with the earliest known proposal being made by Charles V of Spain in 1534.
2. The French Attempted to Build the Canal First
The initial endeavor to construct the Panama Canal was undertaken by the French. Ferdinand de Lesseps, at the helm of the French government, initiated the project in 1881. However, they encountered a plethora of obstacles, including the hardships of disease and financial constraints. Subsequently, in 1889, the project was abandoned, resulting in the tragic loss of over 20,000 workers to yellow fever and malaria.
3. The United States Took Over the Construction of the Panama Canal
In 1904, the United States government, under President Theodore Roosevelt, took over the construction of the Panama Canal. The American effort was led by chief engineer George Washington Goethals and faced many of the same challenges as the French. However, the United States was able to successfully complete the canal, opening it to traffic in 1914.
4. The Panama Canal is an Essential Part of Global Trade
The Panama Canal is an essential part of global trade. The canal allows ships to avoid the long and dangerous voyage around the southern tip of South America. This helps in saving time and money. The canal is particularly important for the shipment of goods between the East and West coasts of the United States, as well as for the shipment of goods between Asia and the East coast of South America.
5. The Expansion of the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal has undergone multiple expansion projects over the years. The most recent expansion project was completed in 2016. This expansion involved constructing new locks, which enable the passage of larger ships called Neo-Panamax vessels. As a result, the shipping industry has experienced substantial changes. The expansion has greatly impacted the industry by facilitating more efficient and cost-effective transportation of goods.
The Panama Canal is a true engineering marvel and an essential part of global trade. From its early beginnings dating back centuries to the recent expansion, the canal has played a significant role in the shipping industry. Understanding its history and impact on the industry is crucial for any shipping, logistics, and freight forwarding company. The canal’s ability to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and its ability to handle the Neo-Panamax vessels has revolutionized the shipping industry. Its significance in terms of time and cost-saving makes it a vital link in the global supply chain.
-By Arti Tawani